Private schools preparing for possible boom - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Private schools preparing for possible boom as charter vote approaches

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Experts said Thursday one effect of a Memphis and Shelby County Schools merger could be a boom in enrollment in private schools.

Memphis voters will head to the polls March 8 to decide on the Memphis City Schools Charter surrender referendum.

"If the voters decide to go ahead and surrender the charter, we are with Memphis City Schools and Shelby County," said Immaculate Conception Cathedral School Principal Karen Gephart.  "As long as we have a good plan and things are in place and we're really working for the children, I don't think they'll have a problem."

If a merger between Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools happens, some parents said they may look to private schools.

"I would hate for people just to take flight because they're afraid of what's going to happen," said Gephart.

Gephart said her school has not seen anything out of the ordinary from parents who may be considering private school.

"I think we've had quite a few interviews this week with prospective students and testing, but that's natural because our registration is in February," she said.

Gephart said her school is preparing for a boom just in case.  School leaders are already reaching out to the community by stepping up advertising and recruitment.

"We've gone to day cares.  We've gone to different schools around town, especially Catholic schools," said Gephart.  "We've had quite a few ads in the Memphis Flyer."

As the charter surrender fight continues, Gephart said preparation will be the key for any parent making a decision about where to send their children to school.

Early voting starts in Downtown Memphis on February 16 and at satellite locations on February 19.

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